The best breast pump for twinsIf you're planning on using a breast pump when breastfeeding twins, you'll need to select a breast pump that's up for the task of building and maintaining breastmilk production. You're relying on your breast pump to feed two - or more - babies, so the best breast pump for twins is a hospital grade breast pump, like the Spectra S1 or S2. Hospital grade breast pumps have more powerful motors, are designed to last longer, and generally have more options for customizing settings. Unlike personal grade pumps, you'll be able to adjust the suction speed, vacuum strength, and choose your own combination of settings to find a sequence that works for you. A hospital grade pump is the best breast pump for twins because it can mimic, as closely as possible, the suckling patterns of a baby. It's much more difficult to build and maintain milk supply with a personal grade pump, especially if you plan on pumping long term or continuing to breastfeed after returning to work.
Tips for breastfeeding twins
If you're breastfeeding twins, it's really important that you set up a nice comfortable area in your home for breastfeeding. You'll be spending a lot of time here feeding your babies, so it's important that you select a comfortable chair with good back and neck support. Have plenty of pillows and blankets available for support. Try to set it up in an area near a mains power outlet so you can power your pump or charge your phone, and be sure to have a table within reach so you can keep a glass of water and some snacks nearby. Keep anything you might need - bottles of water, magazines, snacks, towels, extra pump parts, lanolin - within reach. Try to minimize the need to get up as much as possible.
You'll be spending a lot of time here, so make sure you set up a comfortable, supportive seat that has everything you need within reach.
It's important to stay hydrated when breastfeeding twins, so make sure to drink a LOT of water every time you breastfeed or express breastmilk.
Breastfeeding twins positions
Although they may not always want to eat at the same time (sorry!), when they do, you'll want to be prepared with a few different positions for breastfeeding twins. It takes practice to get the hang of breastfeeding twins, so as much as possible try to have someone at home to help you in those first few weeks - even if it's just to hand you a twin while you get used to positioning two babies for breastfeeding. Setting up on the floor can also make things easier for breastfeeding two babies at once, so you can lay one on the floor while you position the other. You can even buy twin-specific nursing pillows, which can be especially helpful when your twins are newborns.
Football hold - also known as rugby hold - is one of the most popular positions for breastfeeding twins. This is especially helpful if you're recovering from a c-section and need to protect your incision while it heals. To do tandem football hold, have a pillow large enough to support both babies on your lap (you can get a U shaped pillow designed specifically for breastfeeding, like the one shown in the photo below). Then, lay each baby so that his or her head is at your breast, and bottom under your armpit. Wrap your arms around each baby so you can support the back of each head with your hand.
A mother breastfeeding her twins each in football hold with the help of a supportive pillow.
As your babies get older, breastfeeding WILL get easier. A big turning point for many mums is when the babies develop head control and become able to hold their heads to the breast on their own - which means you can free up a hand (or two) while breastfeeding twins. Try to find supportive groups in your community or online, like the Spectra Mums Facebook group. La Leche League International also has some great advice about breastfeeding multiples online.
Pump between breastfeeding to increase milk supply
The best breast pump for twins is one that you can rely on to build and maintain your milk supply, like the Spectra S2. If you want to increase your milk supply to ensure you're able to pump enough for your twins after you go back to work, or if you want to build up a freezer stash, try adding a pumping session between feedings. If you're returning to work try adding in the pumping session during the day when you would be pumping at work, to help your body get used to pumping at this time.
Do you have twins or multiples? What are your tips for pumping for and breastfeeding twins or triplets? Tell us in the comments below!